…she was equally critical of the experiences facilitated by Hollywood’s mainstream releases. The lack of concern for coherent storytelling on the part of producers and directors in charge of the volatile and overblown process of filmmaking was matched by the audience’s enthusiastic response to spectacular attractions and shock effects, irrespective of their degree of narrative motivation.
Voices of dissatisfaction were heard at another major turn in the history of Hollywood, that is in the late 1970s, when the “unprecedented box-office success of Jaws (1975) and Star Wars (1977), signaled Hollywood’s aesthetic, cultural and industrial re-orientation towards movies with more emphasis on special effects and cinematic spectacle”. Unlike the classical movies produced on the assembly line under the studio regime (films that respected narrative integrity and refined story ideas into the classical three-act of exposition, complication and resolution), the products of New Hollywood, says critic Richard Schickel, seem “to have lost or abandoned the art of narrative.... [Filmmakers] are generally not refining stories at all, they are spicing up ‘concepts’ (as they like to call them), refining gimmicks, making sure there are no complexities to fur our tongue when it comes time to spread the word of mouth”. Contemporary cinema has come to depend so much on shrewd marketing and advertising strategies that its pictures, as Mark Crispin Miller points out, “like TV ads, ... aspire to a total ‘look’ and seem more designed than directed”.
The difficulty that critics nowadays face with films like The Matrix and the new situation in Hollywood, is not only unlike the layman’s inability to assess “any recent Hollywood film as a discreet textual artifact that is either ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than the artifact produced under the studio regime;” It has also to do with regarding “the textual form of recent Hollywood as expressive of changed production circumstances that lead to a different kind of textual artifact”. In other words, as we move on in our globalized, high-tech age, it is becoming increasingly difficult to regard any single movie as a self-contained, autonomous text. On the contrary, as Eileen Meehan contends, it has become imperative to look upon any New Hollywood mainstream release “always and simultaneously as text and commodity, intertext and product line”.